First Vice President, Premier Corporate & Professional Services • HSBC Bank, USA, National Association • New York City • Age: 39
In high school, Haitian-born Reginald Leon Canal had the unique opportunity to attend the University of Caen in France for a summer. He was one of just three Black students among the 100 who went on the trip. “I was around some pretty affluent kids who were very cultured and knew about museums and art,” he says. “It was a life-altering experience because it opened up the world of international business to me.”
Canal went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature in 1990 and a master’s in business administration in 1992, both from Binghamton University. He spent a semester of junior year of college at the University of Aix-en-Provence in France. Today, he is a first vice president for premier corporation and professional services at HSBC in New York, leading a team that focuses on the bank’s Affluent African Heritage segment that targets Black-owned small to mid-sized businesses and high net-worth individuals. Canal brought this segment to the attention of his superiors as one to which the bank should extend its full range of financial services.
During this 13-year career at HSBC, Canal worked in the now-defunct Group Consulting Services division in Hong Kong from 1997 to 1999. It was a chance to work with HSBC corporate leaders throughout Asia and the Middle East. “It was the second-best experience of my life,” he says. Working abroad also gave him the freedom to maximize the full breadth of his talents. “When you work overseas, you excel quicker than if you were working at your home country company, as you tend to work on more challenging projects,” he says.
In Indonesia, he fell in love with the island of Bali, where he proposed to his future wife, Gillian, a native of Guyana. The couple wed there in 2001.
Canal dreams of establishing a foundation to help inner-city youth discover the life-altering benefits of studying abroad. He also dreams of owning a vacation home—in Bali, of course!